ArchiMate Diagram (Layers, Elements, and Relationships)

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Archimate Diagram

Are you looking for a complete guide to creating ArchiMate diagrams? Then, you’ve come to the right place.

ArchiMate is a powerful visual modeling language that can be used for various purposes, from system architecture to business process design. 

This blog post overviews ArchiMate and shows you how to create your first ArchiMate diagram. It also discusses some of the most common ArchiMate elements and symbols. So let’s get started!

What is ArchiMate?

ArchiMate is a standardized modeling language of the Open Group for enterprise architecture.

It provides a comprehensive approach to describing, analyzing, and optimizing an enterprise’s architecture. It also visually represents an organization’s business functions and systems. 

ArchiMate Diagrams

An ArchiMate diagram is a visual representation of an enterprise’s architecture. It shows the structure of an enterprise, the relationships between its components, and the flow of information and resources between them.

Architecture diagrams can be used for different purposes, such as architecture documentation, business analysis, system design, and more.

The purpose of ArchiMate diagrams impacts the approach to creating ArchiMate diagrams. For example, ArchiMate diagrams used for system design are more likely to contain detailed information than diagrams used for architecture documentation.


The diagram consists of  three layers:

  • The Business Layer represents the core business processes and functions of an enterprise
  • The Application Layer represents the software applications that support the business
  • The Technology Layer represents the underlying technology infrastructure.

ArchiMate diagrams can be used to model any system, and ArchiMate is a popular tool for documenting software systems. ArchiMate diagrams are similar to UML use case diagrams or activity flowcharts.

ArchiMate Elements

Active structures

These are the elements that represent things that can perform actions. ArchiMate’s active structures include application components, business actors, and Business roles.

Internal active structures are represented using boxes with square corners or an icon in the upper right corner.

Internal Active Structures

External active structures are represented using a point of access.

External Active Structures

Passive structures

These elements represent physical or abstract objects within the system on which behavior is performed. For example, ArchiMate passive structures include databases, files, resources, and artifacts.

Passive structures are represented using this shape.

Passive Structure Element

A passive structure element represents an element on which behavior is performed.


These are the elements that represent the actions performed by active structures. It includes processes, services, and events.

  • The Internal behavior element denotes an activity that can be performed by an active structure (active structures may be one or more)
  • The External behavior element also called a service, denotes defined exposed behavior.
  • An event denotes a state of change
Internal Behavior Element
Behavior Event

The ArchiMate core framework

The Archimate Core Framework

Full framework

Full Frame Work of Archimate Diagram

The benefits of using ArchiMate

There are many benefits to using ArchiMate, including the following:

  • It is a well-established and widely used modeling language.
  • It is vendor-neutral and can be used with any enterprise architecture toolset.
  • It is comprehensive, covering all aspects of enterprise architecture.
  • Finally, it is flexible and can be customized to fit the needs of any organization.


Structural Relationships

  • Composition relationship –  It indicates an element consists of one or more other concepts.
  • Aggregation relationship – It indicates an element combines one or more other concepts.
  • Assignment relationship –  It indicates the allocation of responsibility, the performance of the behavior, storage, or execution.
  • Realization relationship – It indicates an entity plays a critical role in the creation, achievement, sustenance, 

Dependency Relationships

  • Serving relationship – It indicates an element provides its functionality to another element.
  • Access relationship –  It indicates the ability of behavior and active structure elements to observe or act upon passive structure elements.
  • Influence relationship – It indicates an element affects the implementation or achievement of some motivation element.
  • Association relationship – It indicates an unspecified relationship

Dynamic Relationship

  • Triggering relationship – It indicates a temporal or causal relationship between elements.
  • Flow relationship – It indicates a transfer from one element to another.

Other Relationships

  • Specialized relationship – IT indicates an element is a particular kind of another element.

Latest ArchiMate Specification

Architecture modeling has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. There are many architecture modeling languages, but the ArchiMate language is one of the most popular. It is used to create diagrams that show the structure of architecture.

The latest version of ArchiMate is 3.1 specification. It was released in November 2019. It includes many new features. Some new features include a value stream element, a directed notation for the association, and refinement of the rules for deriving relationships.

The ArchiMate 3 specification is a comprehensive guide to creating ArchiMate diagrams. It covers all aspects of the language, from basic concepts to more advanced topics. It is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to use ArchiMate.

ArchiMate Modeling Tools

1. Visual Paradigm

It is a certified ArchiMate modeling tool


  • Drag and drop editing interface
  • Alignment guide
  • Formatting options for shapes and connectors
  • Custom viewpoint
  • Reuse of the same elements in different diagrams
  • Online view of diagrams option for stakeholders and teammates
  • Cloud platform

2. Archi

It is an open-source ArchiMate modeling toolkit that helps to create ArchiMate models and sketches.


  • Supports the latest version, which is ArchiMate 3.1
  • Generates ArchiMate views and viewpoints
  • It gives hints about using elements and relationships
  • Visualizer helps to connect the dots
  • It offers cross-platform and is written in Java
  • Sketch view for sketching your ideas
  • Canvas modeling toolkit to create your canvas

Tips for creating an ArchiMate Diagram

  • Start by creating a basic sketch of your diagram on paper. That will help you plan the overall structure and ensure that all your ideas are included.
  • Use clear and concise titles for each of your ArchiMate elements. It will make it easier for others to understand your diagram.
  • Make use of layers to control the visibility and hierarchy of your elements. It will help you create a more organized diagram.
  • Use connectors to link your elements together. That will create a more fluid and cohesive diagram.
  • Use colors and shading to differentiate between different elements and groups of elements.
  • Be consistent with your use of notation throughout the entire diagram.
  • Proofread your diagram for errors and ensure that it is properly formatted.


ArchiMate is a comprehensive modeling tool used to create diagrams of enterprise architecture. This post has provided an overview of the ArchiMate elements and layers and tips on creating effective ArchiMate diagrams.

Knowing the concept and tools outlined here allows you to create clear and concise diagrams that accurately represent your system architecture.


ArchiMate 3.1 specification